Accommodations and Exemptions

This section refers to information about accommodations and exemptions for the Assessments of Reading, Writing and Mathematics, Primary and Junior Divisions.

General Information About Accommodations

EQAO relies on educators to administer the assessments in accordance with EQAO guidelines and to ensure the security and validity of the assessments. All accommodations outlined in this user guide must be adhered to whether the student is taking the assessment in an electronic format or with an alternative version. Instructional materials that facilitate responses to questions can not be used.

Students with special education needs are eligible for accommodations. These accommodations should be listed in their IEP and used for regular classroom activities, as well as for formative and summative assessments. These accommodations, including verbatim scribing, must be documented in the e-assessment system under “Student Accommodations.”

Note:  The accommodations required by a student may be different in reading, writing and mathematics. If this is the case, the accommodations for each component of the assessment must be entered separately. For information on how to assign an accommodation to a student, see the section called Determining Whether a Student Requires Additional Accommodations.

Permitted Accommodations

All accommodations outlined in this guide must be adhered to whether the student is taking an assessment in a paper or an electronic format. No instructional materials that facilitate responses to questions can be used.

Role of the School Administrator for Accommodations and Exemptions

The school administrator is responsible for

  • making decisions about student participation;
  • ensuring that all accommodations and exemptions are provided;
  • documenting the relevant information in the e-assessment system according to the instructions in this guide;
  • sending an information letter to parents or guardians outlining approved accommodations and/or sending an information letter to parents or guardians informing them of the exemption.

Sample administration letters are available through theLetters, Checklists and Scripts sectionof this guide. Keep a copy on file at the school of the information letter from the school administrator to the parents or guardians.

Accommodations are permitted for students who

  • have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) that outlines accommodations that are necessary for and consistent with regular classroom practices and
  • receive these accommodations for all forms of assessment.

Decisions about accommodations must be made

  • based on the accommodations outlined in this guide and those identified on the student’s IEP;
  • so that they are consistent with regular classroom practice, including assessments;
  • prior to the assessment;
  • for each student individually; and
  • in consultationwith the studentand parents or guardians and with the appropriate teaching staff.

Accommodations include the following:

  • Extended periodic supervised breaks
  • Sign language or an oral interpreter
  • Additional assistive technology tools, such as Google Read & Write or Kurzweil
  • Verbatim scribing of responses (refer to the Guidelines for Scribes section)
  • Alternative version, which contains single-select and open-response questions only and is available in the following formats:
    • Printable (regular or large-print)
    • Unified English Braille (contracted and uncontracted)
    • Online with and without full audio descriptions of all graphics
    • Audio MP3s with and without full audio descriptions of all graphics

The formats with full audio descriptions have been created for students with low vision. Refer to the Alternative Version of the Assessment section for more information.

To select a Braille format of the assessment follow the steps in Determining Whether a Student Requires Additional Accommodations and select the format that is required for each component (reading, writing and mathematics).

Please note: If a Braille format is required, a school administrator must email info@eqao.com at least one week prior to administering the assessment and follow steps listed below.

Important

If a student requires a Braille or another format of the alternative version of the assessment, you must confirm that the approval has been processed online to ensure that the questions in the online version match the version that the student is using.  If approval is not indicated by EQAO in this section off prior to administering the assessment, please follow up at info@eqao.com prior to accessing the assessment online.

Using Kurzweil

If the student requires Kurzweil, follow the steps in Determining Whether a Student Requires Additional Accommodations and select the appropriate Kurzweil box for each section that is required.

Note: If the student is using the Kurzweil application (downloadable version), they will require a PDF of the assessment. A school administrator must email info@eqao.com at least one week prior to administering the assessment and request this version. The alternative version must be assigned to the student for them to use this version.

Using Read&Write for Google Chrome

Students who have Read&Write prescribed in their IEP may use this assistive technology to complete the Assessments of Reading, Writing and Mathematics, Primary and Junior Divisions.  

Read&Write for Google Chrome is supported by the e-assessment platform. The primary- and junior-division assessments include various item formats (drag and drop, drop-down menu, checklist, selected response). As these items are more interactive than those in a standard document or on a webpage, students will need to use the Read&Write Hover Speech tool to access them.

The e-assessment platform has a built-in text-to-speech tool that is designed to work with the assessment platform. If a student is less proficient with the Read&Write Hover Speech tool, the built-in text-to-speech tool may be an alternative way to meet the student’s needs.

Below are some videos that demonstrate how two features in the toolbar can be used:

  • the Hover Speech tool—to hear questions, words and passages from the assessments read aloud with colour highlighting
  • the Word Prediction tool—to write words or sentences

Example of a reading passage read aloud:  

Two examples of selected-response questions read aloud:  

Example of items in a checklist read aloud:  

Example of drag-and-drop items read aloud:

Example of a drop-down menu item read aloud:

Example of an open-response question read aloud: 

Example of the Word Prediction tool used in an open-response question:  

Students with Special Circumstances

Accommodations can be provided to students if they are unable to participate in the assessment without accommodations, due to special circumstances.

Special circumstances include the following:

  • New to School: Student does not have an IEP, due to a recent transfer into the school from another jurisdiction. There is documentation to show that accommodations are necessary.
  • Unique Circumstance or Temporary Condition: Student has a unique circumstance or temporary condition that hinders or impedes the student from completing the assessment online.

Decisions about accommodations for students with special circumstances must be made

  • prior to the assessment;
  • for each student individually;
  • in consultation with the student and parents or guardians and with the appropriate teaching staff; and
  • by referring to the permitted accommodations in this guide.

Exemptions

Decisions about exemptions must be made

  • prior to the assessment;
  • for each student individually; and
  • in consultation with the student, parents or guardians and with the appropriate teaching staff, and with the consent of the parents or guardians.

An exemption may be provided to students who cannot complete the assessment online or on a printed copy with permitted accommodations.

A student must be exempted from the reading component of the assessment if the built-in text-to-speech audio or an external text-to-speech software is not sufficient and the student requires a teacher or another adult to read the question and/or reading passage.

A student must be exempted from the mathematics component of the assessment if the student requires mathematics terms to be defined.

If the parents or guardians want their child to write the assessment, the student must be allowed to write.

Reminder: All students have access in the e-assessment system to the built-in text-to-speech tool that reads all questions and passages, including those in the reading component,to students.

To exempt a student for all or part of the assessment, follow the steps in Determining Whether a Student Requires Additional Accommodations and select the exemption box for each component (reading, writing and/or mathematics) that is required.

Guidelines for Scribes

Responses to all questions, excluding open-response questions for the language component of the primary-division assessment, must be entered directly into the e-assessment system. If a student uses an alternative version of the assessment (e.g., paper or Braille), a scribe could first record responses on the paper response form, and then enter the responses into the e-assessment system.

Transcribing Student Responses into the E-Assessment System

If the scribe is not able to enter any responses into the e-assessment system as the student completes the assessment, the student’s teacher must sign into the e-assessment system using the student’s sign in information, when the student has completed the session or stage, and transcribe the student’s responses directly into the system. It is important to transcribe exactly what the student has identified as their response. In the language component, all open-response questions that are handwritten on the paper format and not entered into the e-assessment system must be scanned and uploaded.

Scribes must follow the guidelines below:

  • Record the student’s responses by transcribing them into the e-assessment system or writing on the paper response form exactly what the student dictates.
  • Input answers to the single-select questions as directed by the student into the e-assessment system or on the paper response form.
  • Assume each sentence begins with a capital and ends with a period.
  • Read the dictation back to the student if requested.
  • Show the student the transcription after the student has finished responding to a question, and ask if any corrections are necessary. The scribe may make corrections according to the student’s directions.

Scribes will avoid the following: 

  • Editing or altering the student’s dictation in any way, unless directed by the student.
  • Correcting the student’s responses unless directed by the student.
  • Prompting in order to draw the student’s attention to a specific part of the assessment. Prompts do not include clarification, explanation or translation of any part of the test.
  • Initiating the use of test-taking strategies.
  • Showing any reaction to the student’s responses.
  • Engaging in incidental conversation with the student or others.

Letters

Sample letters for administrators to use for accommodations, exemptions, and participation can be found here.

Updated on May 19, 2022